Russia opposes new N.Korea economic sanctions - diplomat

MOSCOW, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Moscow opposes new economic sanctions on North Korea but would be ready to back measures to limit nuclear proliferation, a Russian official said on Tuesday.

Pyongyang was widely condemned last week after its third nuclear test since 2006, defying United Nations resolutions and putting the country closer to a workable long-range nuclear missile.

"Any additional measures of pressure on North Korea should be aimed exclusively at the sphere of non-proliferation of nuclear arms and rocket launches," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told a news conference.

"We are against measures that would affect normal trade and economic relations with North Korea. We understand our Chinese colleagues have similar views."

Moscow, a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear arms programme and return to talks with world powers on disarmament. (Reporting By Gabriela Baczynska, Writing by Thomas Grove, Editing by Timothy Heritage)